More than 140 participants got a jump on the new hockey season during the three-week Sunshine Coast Hockey School at the Gibsons and Area Community Centre.
The main camp was held Aug. 13 to 17 and saw huge numbers from Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Asso-ciation players.
Camp instructor David Arduin, who has hosted the camp for four years, said he was thrilled with the numbers and the players’ enthusiasm.
“I think this is the biggest turnout we’ve had for the first week,” he said. “We are very pleased with the numbers and the turnout. The kids are great and we’re just excited that the camp is as successful as it has been in the past.”
The tyke, novice/atom, peewee, and bantam/midget divisions all received two ice sessions per day with the first session focusing on a power skating element. In the afternoon session, the focus was adapting more skills with stick handling, shooting and passing drills.
“We obviously incorporate a lot of game situations out here,” said Arduin. “It’s a long week for a lot of the kids, so keeping them focused and energized is a big part of it, and just the main key, which is having fun.”
Off-ice training was also part of the camp, with hockey specific training and conditioning.
“With the older bantam/midget group, they’ve been working hard,” he said. “I’ve had both kids and parents say they are happy with the way the kids are sleeping at night, so I think I’m doing my job. I’m lucky to have a lot of returnees, so they know what to expect.
“These things are all stuff that I’ve done in junior hockey tryouts in the past — things that have been passed down by strength and conditioning coaches. The great thing about it all is it’s all stuff that doesn’t take any equipment. If kids are really dedicated, they’ll take what they do here and work out in their back yards, so it’s all stuff they can do on their own.”
During weeks two and three of the camp (Aug. 20 to 24 and Aug. 27 to 31), the Sunshine Coast Regional District hosted a women’s camp in the evenings. More than 30 kids were put through the One Goal program, which is an introduction to hockey, and the Hockey HEROS program was a huge success where close to 40 players took part. The program saw experienced players right alongside beginners new to the game.
“We’ve very happy with the numbers,” said SCRD facility and programming co-ordinator Tom Poulton.
“I heard some great feedback from the women’s camp. There were only 12 participants, but that allowed for a bit more one-on-one instruction. The three weeks have been a great opportunity for the kids. We’ve had great instructors, too. It’s just been awesome.”